Masks, testing, not enough testing, contact tracing, closures, cancellations, governors, task forces, plan A, plan B, plan C. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down, has our heads spinning, and is driving some flat crazy.

It’s enough to make someone go on a long rant. Over the last few weeks I have. I’ve ranted about baseball, mask shaming, little league, and seasons lost. I’m all ranted out, but that won’t stop me.

Some of the most entertaining facets of sports are coach/player rants and tirades. Let me take a break from ranting for the week, and instead take a Two Cent look at some of the great sports rants of all time. Put earmuffs on the kids. These are most definitely NSFW.

Hockey

The king of hockey rants has to be famed, and now former, Canadian hockey commentator Don Cherry. Cherry would have made a great pro wrestling manager. Many have called for Cherry’s firing for years, and they finally got their wish last November when Cherry was canned for making racially insensitive remarks. In 1996, he showed he wasn’t fond of the Russians either.

One of the all time tirades in any sport was Jim Schonfeld’s meltdown back in May of 1988. During a playoff game referee Don Koharski didn’t have a great night according to Schoenfeld, and he let him know how he felt afterward.

This particular tirade, and especially making contact with Koharski, got Schoenfeld suspended for a game. However, an appeal to a New Jersey judge who happened to be a Devils fan was upheld. With this news, the referees scheduled for the game walked out. After over an hour delay, scab officials were brought in to officiate the game.

Finally, no section on hockey rants would be complete without my favorite “ranter” in the game, John Tortorella. Torts has had a long, mostly unfulfilled coaching career. His relationship with the media has always been very, very luke warm. Rather than isolate one incident, here’s a look at “The Best of Torts”.

 

NBA

Let’s actually start here in the G league, the minor league of the NBA. Wisconsin Herd coach Chase Buford with a beauty here adding bonus points for sounding like me and my friends in high school and the hair. My god, the hair.

An all time rant specialist as a player now does it from behind the TNT studio desk. Charles Barkley leads the hilarity for the best studio show in all of sports. Along with host Ernie Johnson and co-analysts Shaq and Kenny Smith, Barkley leaves no doubt on his opinion. Here is his take from 2015 on analytics.

Probably one of the best rants of all time belongs to Allen Iverson. The “practice” press conference went off the rails in a hurry. The entire press conference went for about 30 minutes, and is worth the watch. What else do you have to do?

I must tell you that by the end I don’t know if he liked Larry Brown or not, whether he wanted traded or not, or if he thinks he is a superstar. I will also tell you I was highly entertained. #DoThatHurtMe. #StickYourFootInMyShoe.

College Basketball

Two words when it comes to college basketball rants. Bobby. Knight. In my opinion, his act wore out a long, long time ago. Along the way, however, were some classic rants. Here is a compilation from the movie A Season on the Brink.

While coaching at Southern Illinois, Barry Hinson decided to tell it like it was after a December game in 2013. It is truthful and it is epic.

Jim Boeheim has been coaching since the peach basket days, and he is known for being a bit of a whiner. Rarely, however, does he get ejected from games. Here is an exception as Duke gets a call to go their way(Surprise, surprise).

Let’s end this section with a couple of women’s basketball coaches. The first is Louisville coach Jeff Walz waxing poetic about today’s “everyone gets a trophy” society. The second is former Michigan coach, Kevin Borseth, with an absolute meltdown.

College Football

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is known as much for his haircut as he is his coaching acumen. In the days before his mullet took full form, Gundy had an epic meltdown over a column that was written about his team.

Les Miles being on the sidelines makes college football better, even if it is at Kansas. During his days at LSU he was dubbed the “Mad Hatter”. He was known to eat grass on the sideline and often gave passionate press conferences that were hard to decipher.

No list of rants would be complete without a Mike Leach entry. Becoming increasingly more adept at sticking his foot in his mouth, Leach had a locker room tirade while flying under the radar at Texas Tech.

How could we leave the college football section of rants without hearing from Mr. Personality down in Tuscaloosa. Here are two different rants from the same season(2019) dealing with a similar topic. You will see his mood didn’t get any better as the season wore on.

 

NFL

This section could stretch for ten pages or more. The NFL has provided more great material from interviews and press conferences than any other sports league. Honestly, Jim Mora alone could take up five pages of his own.

We all know the “Playoffs” rant Mora went on while with the Colts and the “We couldn’t do diddly poo” rant with the Saints. Here are a couple of under the radar Mora rants.

Sifting through who should make the cut in a really tough category, one name kept popping in to my head. Mike Ditka. Here is Mr. Soft and Cuddly with a brief exchange with reporters.

A great player from the “Old School” was Mike Singletary. He was a legendary linebacker for the Chicago Bears. His coaching days in San Francisco were not quite so legendary, but he did provide us with one of the classic rants in NFL History.

Unfortunately for Singletary, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time for wanting winners.

I could end this segment with some of the greats. You know them well, I’m sure. Herm Edwards with his “We play to win the game” rant, or the late Dennis Green with his “they are who we thought they were” tirade, or the John McKay “we didn’t block very well, but we made up for it by not tackling” quiet rant, or anything else from the pages of Jim Mora clips.

No, I’m going to close out this section with a player rant followed by the coach that motivated him. What’s that? You can’t wait. Okay, grab a snack and watch these beauties.

Baseball

The last stop used to be my favorite for this type of thing. Baseball used to be famous for brouhahas between managers and umpires. Replay has mostly wiped away that segment of the game. Next week I will revisit some of the great baseball ejections. Until then we will stick to great rants in baseball.

Our first stop will be in the Windy City with two guys that always seemed like ticking time bombs. The first comes from the South Side with Ozzie Guillen, followed by the North Side and Lou Pinella.

Next we head east to the city of brotherly love. Apparently nobody told Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and legendary reporter Howard Eskin.

Los Angeles is known for its laid back California vibe, but not in the dugout during the ‘70’s and ‘80’s when Tommy Lasorda ran the show. Listen to the pasta fed Dodgers skipper’s rant, stirred on by of all people light hitting Kurt Bevacqua.

For the grand finale we go to Kansas City where one of my favorite non-Pirate players was managing the Kansas City Royals. When there is blood involved you know that you are dealing with the mother of all rants.

Speaking of pipes, is it possible McRae was hitting the crack pipe?

We all lose it from time to time. Fortunately for most of us it isn’t caught on camera. These rants surely keep things interesting, and they are great for learning how to group curse words in the most creative ways.

Now on to the bleep bleep bleep bleeping bleepity bleep Two Cent bleeping Takes.

Two Cent Takes

NFL

~The NFL released the 2020-21 schedule with no delays planned. Whether that holds up remains to be seen. The season is set to commence on Thursday, September 10 with Houston at Kansas City. This keeps with the tradition of having the Super Bowl champs lead off, and it gives us a chance to see the first test for Bill O’Brien after a bizarre offseason.

~Mike Tomlin suggested last week that when team facilities are allowed to open it should be at a uniform time across the league. That’s fair. I may not always want Tomlin coaching the Steelers— only time will tell— but I do always want him on the competition committee. He is logical, level headed, and has the best interest of teams at heart.

~The Steelers and Eagles both get four prime time appearances, including what could be an epic Thanksgiving night clash between the Steelers and Ravens.

~The NFL always says the best teams will play the toughest schedules the following year. With parity in the league that is really hard to adjust for. Take the Ravens, who had the best record in the AFC but have the easiest schedule in the league.

NCAA

~The Adidas basketball fallout is starting to take shape. Kansas received a reply to its rebuttal from the NCAA enforcement staff. When the word egregious is used by the enforcement staff you know it isn’t pretty. It is possible that Bill Self could lose a year of coaching if he gets a show cause penalty.

~LSU, Arizona, and Louisville will go under the enforcement spotlight at some point as well. The only school among them that was proactive was Louisville. The Cardinals fired AD Tom Jurich, assistant coaches Jordan Fair and Kenny Johnson, and head coach Rick Pitino. Amazingly all three coaches have been hired elsewhere, including Pitino at Iona. The Cards biggest problem is they were still on probation for ”Strippergate”.

~All of these schools should be sneaking a peek at North Carolina’s playbook. The school managed to get away scot-free with having fake classes.

~The NCAA can’t be trusted with much of anything. This is why Mark Emmert’s comments on no fall sports with no students on campus may not hold water. I don’t necessarily disagree with him, but some schools and conferences will be ahead of the virus timeline from others. With a uniform opening being the wish of all, they may have to make some exceptions or risk throwing millions of dollars away.

Could this be the beginning of the end for the NCAA? Is their power finally crumbling? Stay tuned. I’m sure they will give it their all to screw this up.

A Penny For My Final Thought…

Ben Roethlisberger was in the news again thanks to Jay Glazer.

No, Roethlisberger didn’t shave. He worked out.

While being interviewed last week Glazer referred to Roethlisberger’s workout regimen as hot yoga, then beer and golf. He eluded that Ben and exercise should never be used in the same sentence.

Roethlisberger and Glazer are friends, but Ben took exception to the comments and called Glazer on them. He feels like he has been putting in extra work to come back better than ever. Glazer, who is a workout fiend, acknowledged that Ben was indeed busting his tail in rehab. He went on to say he was proud of Roethlisberger embracing the rehab.

If all of this is true, it is fantastic news for Steelers fans. The Steelers managed to go 8-8 last season with two of the lowest performing quarterbacks you could pick off the quarterback tree. Duck Hodges has no business being in the league, and maybe Mason Rudolph has a future but only as a backup.

Another former Steelers employee and current Roethlisberger neighbor, Bruce Arians, said he believes Ben’s arm was bothering him for over a year. That would certainly explain the poor performance in the game and a half he did play last season.

A finely tuned, in shape, bomb slinging Ben Roethlisberger would be a sight for sore eyes, to say the least, for Steelers fans. The defense has been molded into one of the best units in the league. With Minkah Fitzpatrick, TJ Waat, Bud Dupree, Devin Bush leading the way, they are young, fast, hard hitting, and very stingy.

The offense has a solid offensive line, some developing talent on the outside at receiver including the hopeful return to form of JuJu Smith-Schuster, a duo of dynamic pass catching tight ends, and a potential new toy in the backfield in Anthony McFarland. All that is missing is a solid quarterback.

When Ben Roethlisberger is on his game, he is far better than solid. He is only two years removed from his highest passing yardage total in his career. He knows how to win. Most importantly, at age 38, he knows his window of Super Bowl opportunity is closing fast. Age waits on no one, but sometimes it kickstarts the fire inside. The will to win one more time will be strong.

Nobody knows what this season will look like, or if for sure there will be a season. I’m betting there is, and I’m betting that Ben Roethlisberger will be ready to saddle up and ride.

Hey, if Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, could be built better, stronger, faster than before then why not Ben Roethlisberger? Okay, faster is a stretch. But the other two would work just fine.

Just my two cents…